KUANTAN – An environmentalist has said it loud and clear, ‘Stop bauxite activities in Pahang for good’ as the state capital ecosystem has already been damaged. Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said the state government should be more serious in handling the bauxite issue.
“Nobody wants to go to Pahang anymore because the damage done by bauxite miners in Kuantan is beyond repair,” she told Bernama.
Kuantan, she said, was losing its main attraction which was its ecosystem as a certain extent of greenery had been cleared, as well as a certain extent of air pollution and water pollution due to the bauxite activities.
Shariffa Sabrina has described Kuantan as a â€˜capital for disasterâ€™ describing authorities there as â€˜short-sightedâ€™ for failing to see the long-term effects of bauxite mining on the environment.
“It is already proven that bauxite does not bring any good to the people there but only to certain quarters,” said Shariffa Sabrina.
Meanwhile, seasoned environmentalist Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia (CETDEM) chairman Gurmit Singh said bauxite processing should have been done the right and proper way.
“If bauxite had been in Pahang all along, they should have processed it safely in this country.
“Why do they need to supply it to China? Obviously, some people have their own interest,” Gurmit told Bernama.
Bernama also learnt that Bauxite had already existed in the state in the 1960s at Felda Bukit Goh.
Gurmit also urged bauxite miners to look at proper ways in handling bauxite and follow Australiaâ€™s way of producing bauxite.
“Why canâ€™t we look at them (Australia) and follow their laws? There is no overall control here and illegal miners are doing things their own way without any proper procedure, this is not right,” said Gurmit.
Another environmentalist, Peka Pahang Chairman Khaidir Ahmad echoed Gurmitâ€™s suggestion for bauxite miners to emulate Australia in terms of handling bauxite the safe way.
“Pollution through bauxite can be reduced if there is a controlled effect, look at Australia, they have been producing bauxite for a very long time, yet there is no pollution threatening the environment and the people,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
Western Australia is the largest bauxite producing region in the world and also happens to be the largest alumina producing region in the world.
Asked what he thought about the three-month moratorium imposed by the government on all bauxite mining activities in the state, he said the suspension was not enough.
“Three months is not enough, we hope the government looks at the issue of bauxite seriously and comes up with long-term solutions to solve bauxite pollution.”
Khaidir said it was indeed important and crucial for bauxite miners to practice the international standard of environmental-friendly and safe mining. He added that there should be a regulated hour for bauxite to be transported to the Kuantan port from the stockpile areas.
“Following the right procedure, the operating hours should be from 8am till 4pm, this is one of the safety procedures, and material should not be transported after this time as stipulated by the guidelines,” he said. – BERNAMA